COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – There are 25 less people in the Columbus County School System because of recent budget cuts, which could lead to more crowded classrooms this fall.
The employees, including some teachers, were told last week their jobs were being eliminated because of a tight budget.
Larry Gilliam, who taught in the school system for 23 years, was let go just three months before he was set to retire – which means he won't receive his full retirement package. Gilliam was a network engineer and technology teacher at South Columbus High School in Tabor City.
According to Superintendent Dan Strickland, the school system will save close to $2 million from the layoffs and making other cuts to their budget. He says a state policy was used to determine which teachers lost their jobs.
Some employees who lost their jobs question the way school officials have been managing the money. The teachers don't understand how officials could afford to send students to Denmark for a cultural exchange program in April, but lay teachers off two months later.
Strickland said 19 of the 25 people laid off last week were offered positions at other schools in the county. Depending on the state's budget, he says a dozen more jobs could be cut.
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